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says, “ My meditation of Him shall be sweet ; I will be glad in the Lord.” The very best psalms of David are the overflowings of his heart occasioned by his deep meditations on God. Never shall we obtain a healthy, robust, and active piety until we give ourselves wholly to meditating on God.
The Eternal God is the proper object of man's meditation. This is the proposition which we wish to enforce upon your attention.
By the majority of men this great truth is entirely forgotten, for God is not in all their thoughts. Many of the guides of the people ignore this truth, and tell them that, “ The proper study of mankind is man,” and most earnestly do they enforce this study on the attention of us all ; hence they vehemently cry, “ Man, know thyself ; all knowledge centres there.”
Now we are sure that every believer in the Bible must deny these statements ; for the Bible teaches that the proper study of mankind is God, and the command of the Bible in substance, “ Man know thy God; all knowledge centres there.”
I. God intended Himself to be the great and constant subject of our meditations. We cannot meditate upon a being of whom we have no knowledge; therefore, if God had not revealed Himself we could not meditate on Him, for we do not possess any innate, instinctive knowledge of God. Man is born as ignorant of God as s the wild ass's colt. But God has revealed Himself to man. He has revealed Himself unto us in the works of His hands ; for the invisible things of men, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things which are made, even His eternal power and Godhead. So that men are without excuse.
God has revealed Himself unto all men in His providential deal. ings with our race ; for “ though in times past He suffered all nations to walk in their own ways, nevertheless, He left not Himself without witness in that He did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and glad. ness."
God has revealed Himself in the person of His well-beloved Son. “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him."
God has revealed Himself unto us in His Word. Here, in the Bible, He gives us the assurance that He created the world and governs it. Here He unfolds the principles by which He rules the nations, and tribes, and families of the earth ; and here He makes known to us the grounds upon which He redeemed mankind, and will regenerate the children of men.
We call the Bible a revelation of God's mind; and the reason why we do so is because the Bible alone leads us to the right know. ledge of God, as He is revealed to us in Creation, in Providence, and Redemption. Without the Bible we should be left to our own vain imaginings, and to the wild conjectures of others, in our meditations on the Godhead; and we should be lost in the wandering mazes of superstition, as the heathen are who know not God. All, all who refuse to behold God through the glass of the Bible are constantly erring in their meditations on Him.
The planets and stars are at such an immense distance from us that we cannot gain a correct knowledge of their magnitude and velocity by the naked eye. To gain accurate information concerning the heavenly bodies, they must be viewed through a telescope of sufficient power to bring them near enough to us for that purpose. Those who affirm that they can form more correct conceptions of the starry bost by the naked eye than the astronomer can with his telescope, are justly deemed fools. Equally foolish also are those who affirm that they can form a more correct judgment of God without the Bible than with it. If our meditations on God are to be accurate, pleasing, and profitable, we must delight in the law of the Lord, and therein must we meditate day and night. If we become humble, prayerful, believing, and diligent students of God's holy Word, then will God reveal Himself unto us by His Spirit as He does not unto the world. He will shine into our hearts, and give us the light of the knowledge of His glory in the face of Jesus Christ. This is the experience of all who seek God rightly in His Word, for they can say, “We all, with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
From the revelations which God has made of Himself, and the facilities He has given us of acquiring Divine knowledge, it is evident that God intended Himself to be our great study.
II. We are commanded to know God, and only in the knowledge of Him can we find honour, satisfaction, and security. Job says, “ Acquaint now thyself with God, and be at peace with Him, and thereby good shall come unto thee." David charged Solomon to know the God of his fathers, and to serve Him with a perfect heart and a willing mind. Jesus Christ says, “ This is life eternal, to know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent." And Peter says, “ Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.” The knowledge of God enlarges the intellect, subdues the will, softens the conscience, purifies the heart, ennobles the life, sheds a halo of glory on the dying bed, opens to us the gates of Paradise, and leads us into the presence of God, where there is fulness of joy and pleasures for evermore. Well might Jeremiah write, “ Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches, but let him that glorieth glory in this: that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the Lord that exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth; for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” And well might Paul exclaim, “Yea, doubtless, and I count all things loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord : for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him; not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness of God by faith.”
God has given us powers every way fitted for the study of Himself. Meditations on God, were our hearts right, would be as pleasant to our souls as light is to the eyes. Not to know God, therefore, is a shame to us. After all the opportunities we have enjoyed in this land of Bibles, sanctuaries, and Gospel privileges, not to know God is a sin of the blackest hue. Hear the Word of the Lord, ye men of England, for God has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is not that truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land which there ought to be. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.
With all our Bibles, with all our Sabbath-school instruction, with all our public preaching, how little is known of God by the people of England, to what might be known of Him, if the inhabitants of this land would only give themselves to meditations on God. It is impossible for us to know God rightly without much meditation on Him; and certainly we ought to be seeking-ever seeking—those things which will bring us most honour, satisfaction, and security, and which will yield God most glory. How can these things be better secured than by meditations on God? We cannot be engaged in a nobler, happier, safer employment than in the study of God.
IIL As God is the proper subject of our meditations, and we are commanded to know Him, we should seek that accurate and complete knowledge of God which may be attained by meditation. Guided by Divine revelation, we should study the nature of God. We should ponder the spirituality of God's nature. This is essential to the right and acceptable worship of God; for God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. We must banish from our minds all those gross, material views which would lead us to form any material or mental image of God; and our minds must be fixed upon those perfections of His nature which
show to us that He is infinitely superior to all material forms, yea, superior even to light itself, which is the purest and noblest of all material substances. We cannot form any abstract notion of what spirit is, and, therefore, in thinking of God, we should not think of Him as an abstraction, but as an embodiment in the person of Jesus Christ ; for in Christ dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. “Philip saith unto Christ, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip ? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father ? ” In Christ we see embodied infinite intelligence, combined with infinite power, infinite purity, and infinite love, and no man can form any right conception of the nature of God, but as he studies these as they shine forth in Christ, the incarnate God.
We should meditate on the mode of the Divine existence, as revealed to us in the Bible. Banishing from our minds all preconceived opinions drawn from analogy, we should have recourse to the Holy Scriptures for correct opinions on the mode of the Divine existence. All the errors of Anti-Trinitarians arise from the supposition that God is like unto one of us. They compare the mode of the Divine existence with the mode of human existence, and, therefore, conclude that the idea of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost in one Godhead is absurd and blasphemous. But they reason from false premises, therefore their conclusions are erroneous.
For God is not like to one of us, and there is none in heaven or earth to whom we can liken Jehovah. God is peerless, and the mode of His existence is unique, there being no other of the same kind. The doctrine of the Trinity is a mystery, we cannot comprehend it fully; but still the fact is clearly revealed in the Bible that there are three Persons in the Godhead. God has revealed Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and it is the height of ignorance, presumption, and blasphemy to deny what God has so clearly revealed. The doctrine of the Trinity meets us in the first chapter of Genesis, and runs like a golden thread through the whole Bible. Redemption is founded on this doctrine, and without the Father's love, the Son's sacrifice, and the Holy Ghost's renewing, we cannot be saved. The doctrine of the Trinity meets us at the baptismal font, and we are baptized into the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. And the doctrine of the Trinity is the last which occupies our thoughts in every act of public, private, or social worship. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost closes every public service, every sacramental season, every feast of love, every meeting for prayer. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost !
We should also ruminate frequently on the eternity of God. We are sure that no thoughtful and reflecting mind can ever divest itself of the notion of eternity. The man may, indeed, refuse to think, as many are accustomed to do, on any serious subject at all; but he who thinks to any purpose cannot refuse to admit the truth that our God is an eternal God. Our souls are gifted with powers that enable them to look over the ages that are past. You may imagine a period before the heavens and the earth were made, ere yet the sun was a light by day or the moon and stars were a light by night. You may travel back myriads of ages, till you get beyond the boundary of creation, and arrive at the time--if time it
which surround His throne, ere one note of praise was breathed forth to Him whose mercy endureth for ever. But, stretch imagination as you will, you cannot imagine a period when God was not, when He was not the High and Lofty One that inhabiteth eternity; because it is clear that had such a period ever existed, nothing could ever have been brought into existence. And it is by bringing our minds to dwell upon this point, the eternal existence of the Holy God, that we gain some glimpses of the past eternity, and learn to bow with reverence before His throne, who is from everlasting to everlasting, in whose sight a thousand or a million ages are but as a passing day, whose existence will continue as it now is, and has been from the beginning, ere the earth was formed on which we tread; and as it will be even after this world shall be blotted from the book of existence, and be found no more.
The perfections of God, also, should be the subject of our most devout meditations. We should consider deeply but scripturally His omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence. We should dwell upon His infinite truth and faithfulness, upon His inflexible justice, His spotless holiness, and His boundless love, until our hearts are filled with profound veneration, adoring gratitude, implicit confidence, supreme love, and unspeakable delight. Oh, were we to think of God, and muse on His wondrous character as we ought, we should often sing
“My soul breaks out with strong desire
The perfect bliss to prove,
To be dissolved in love.
Give me Thyself, from every boast,
From every wish set free;
But give Thyself to me.